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The problem of relating media content to users' affective responses is here addressed. Previous work suggests that a direct mapping of audio-visual properties into emotion categories elicited by films is rather difficult, due to the high variability of individual reactions. To reduce the gap between the objective level of video features and the subjective sphere of emotions, we propose to shift the representation towards the connotative properties of movies, in a space inter-subjectively shared among users. Consequently, the connotative space allows to define, relate, and compare affective descriptions of film videos on equal footing. An extensive test involving a significant number of users watching famous movie scenes suggests that the connotative space can be related to affective categories of a single user. We apply this finding to reach high performance in meeting user's emotional preferences.